Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Week!

February 13- Practice Random Acts of Kindness (and deliberate ones, too)

Random Acts of Kindness Day is always the week of Valentine’s Day. I always love to hear how this meaningful movement has touched other’s lives. Artist author Peg Conley shares this: You’ve seen those bumper stickers, the ones encouraging you to commit “random acts of kindness?” What they can’t tell you in that little space is how performing those acts can be a way of transforming yourself. When you begin to focus on extending kindness toward others, you’ll feel more kindness coming toward you. Not only will you make someone else’s day better, you’ll be surprised at how well yours improves. It’s rather like the “secret Santa” gift exchange that many offices and families adopt during the weeks leading up to Christmas. There is delight when you do something for another while keeping your identity a secret. When you watch a person receiving a surprise gift, you see their face change, the eyes open wide with delight, a smile bursting into a grin, and laughter erupting. They appear to feel sheer joy at the unexpected. The old adage is true: “It is in giving that we receive.” The other part of the quote, which is by a San Francisco writer named Anne Herbert, is often left out: “and [practice] senseless acts of beauty.” I received a text the other day from a friend who had taken a picture with her phone of a sidewalk outside the coffee shop where she works in San Francisco. Someone had written “It’s a beautiful day” with colored chalk on the sidewalk and adorned it with butterflies and hearts. That, to me, is a senseless act of beauty. Think how many people walked on the sidewalk that day and smiled at the childish scrawl reminding them of the beautiful day.

The Hebrew word mitzvah means a good deed or an act of kindness. Judaism teaches that the world is built on kindness. I recall what my Bubbe, a dear friend in Salt Lake City who was my son’s first caregiver, used to tell me about the importance of doing mitzvah s. She believes in the power of doing something good for another person but not telling them about it. She is a perfect example of someone who practices random acts of kindness, and also one who sees and acknowledges the beauty in everyone she meets. I always feel better just by being in her presence. Entire campaigns focused on practicing random acts of kindness have sprouted up. This, along with “having an attitude of gratitude,” enriches my days in many ways. There are myriad ways you can practice random acts of kindness. Don’t forget to include yourself when you are doing them!

• Pick up trash you see on the street and make the world a better place.
 • Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in line.
• Buy a cookie for a coworker and leave it on their desk.
 • Hold the door open for someone.
• Smile at a stranger.
• Send a thank-you note through the mail.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

February inspirations on how to be a good in the world

January 7- Scatter Joy All Around
Think about how you can create little moments of happiness for others. Helping a friend plant her garden, buying an extra coffee for your coworker, paying the toll for the car behind you on the bridge, even taking your kids to a movie.  All those little things can add up to BIG joy.

January 8- Operation Gratitude

I learned about his from my mom whose church regularly sends cards letters and care packages overseas to the armed forces. My mom and her fellow church ladies bake some of the best cookies in the world so they gather up all kinds of goodies and treats and send them overseas where the taste of “down home” surely brings many smiles of satisfaction. Those who are less gifted in the baking department, such as ME, can make $15 donation to Operation Gratitude, which pays for one care package for one serviceperson. Operation Gratitude has end over a million of these kindness kits around the world!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Happy birthday to Oprah!

Just Say Hello!

Try something new this year and check out the Just Say Hello Campaign on Oprah’s website. The campaign (find it at encourages kindness and strives to combat loneliness by reading our and connecting. A howdy-do to a stranger might make your day and a new pal in the process. I read about this excellent friendliness project in Oprah’s O Magazine a few Sundays ago and immediately felt inspired to try it that day. My boyfriend and I went to do our weekend chores, which include fresh flowers from our neighborhood stand. An older gentleman was standing there smelling the roses, always a good idea in my mind. I remembered to say “Hi” as instructed by Oprah and he responded with a big smile and wanted my input on flowers he wanted to buy for a lady friend.  As you might imagine, quite a conversation ensued and my boyfriend joined in, who is even friendlier than I am. Soon the florist was involved and our new gentleman friend turned out to be a fascinating conversationalist. He had been a fighter pilot in the Korean War, very highly decorated and has travelled all over the world before returning back home to El Cerrito. Widowed some years back, he was only beginning to get back out there and date. After landing upon a carefully selected bouquet of red roses and pink lilies, he headed off to the dance at the senior center. I noticed he has a good bit of pep in his step and I remember having a good feeling about his first date. We kept our eyes peeled for Colonel Jarvis when in the vicinity of the flower shop and sure enough we saw him and he had pictures of his lady friend from the dance featuring a corsage he had gotten for her. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Give, give, give, give it away!

January 23- Give Away Your Old Stuff

I said it before and I’ll say it again.  We all have too much stuff.  Do a favor for people in need and give away some of the things you no longer need or use or wear.  Others would be happy to have it and it will help you simplify your life and enjoy your time more.  Find a few locations that you can drop off your stuff or call an organization that collects your goods to redistribute to those in need. There are Goodwill’s or Salvation Amy centers in every town, large or small so you can donate there to help others and quickly.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

How are you serving the greater good?

January 20 – Martin Luther King Day of Service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” - Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am very happy to see that, thanks to Selma, a new generation of young people and moviegoers are learning about the man who stood among his brothers like Bayard Rustin and John Lewis to fight for the rights of their people and other minorities.  Find a project in your community or register your own project through It has occurred to me that many presidents share the legal holiday in February but there is only one day for the courageous Dr. King.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stop Interrupting Others When They Are Speaking

We have become a nation of interrupters as though what we have to say is more important than anyone else’s opinion or thoughts. Think before you speak.  If a friend is confiding in you and seeks advice, think about how what they have said makes you feel and consider how your words can truly help them. Many people interrupt or relate the problem back to themselves instead of thoughtfully responding to the person who is confiding in them. Reflect on what you have heard and then reply. This is not only basic politeness but also means a lot to the person to whom you are listening. I guarantee you will start to notice when you are interrupted once you have stopped. Listening is an act of love

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Lean the Language of Kindness

Learn a new language. Or become more fluent in your less dominant language if you are already bilingual. The more people you can communicate with, the more valuable you are to working opportunities as well as opening yourself up to new people and cultures.  A friend of mine recently took a volunteer vacation where he taught English to orphans and abandoned children in Cambodia. He said he enjoyed every minute and wants to do this every year, as he loved working with the kids. As he told me this story, his smile was at least a mile wide!